Editorial: Standardized testing offers new challenges
As the controversial Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law emerges for renewal on Capitol Hill, the debate over education policy has been reignited nationwide.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander proposed an elimination of the testing requirement that came with the law, according to a Politico article from Jan. 21 called “Hill fight on No Child Left Behind looms.”
While The Wooster Blade Editorial Board feels that such elimination would be a step in the right direction, federal testing requirements are only a fraction of the problem.
We are bombarded with testing on the class, school, district, state and federal level.
Ohio House Bill 629 plans to change the time spent testing to two percent and limit the time taking practice tests to one percent of each year.
The Wooster Blade Editorial Board feels that spending two percent of the year testing is still too long, especially considering that many other developed nations test only demographically representative samples, rather than bogging down every student, every year, as explained in an NPR article from Jan. 6 called “What Schools Could Use Instead Of Standardized Tests.”
According to a report released by the Ohio Department of Education on Jan. 15, the average Ohio tenth-grader spends 28.4 hours, which equates to about four days, taking district and state tests every year.
The requirements set by the ODE only extend to tenth graders; however, the latent dysfunction of these requirements inconveniences the rest of the WHS student body.
According to the Wooster City School District newsletter, the rest of WHS is being put on a block schedule from Feb. 23 to March 13 to accommodate the testing schedule of the tenth graders.
Although we know that administrators are trying to create a schedule that effectively allows for equal class time and learning, we have concerns that block scheduling will impede learning in other classes. We feel that many classes, like calculus, AP courses and other content-heavy classes, are not conducive to learning in double periods, especially considering the fact that neither we, as students, nor our teachers have ever worked with this type of schedule for an extended amount of time and are doing so at an extremely tense time of testing.
Realistically, in looking at this schedule, the primary concern resides in the fact that we even have to create a special schedule to accommodate a ludicrous amount of testing in the first place.
Therefore, the structure and process that is intended to enlighten students, teachers and administrators is, in reality, burdening our ability to learn and their ability to do their foremost job, teach.